Fans of the popular AMC show “The Walking Dead” have been hearing rumours for some time. One was that Andrew Lincoln, who plays the male lead Rick Grimes, was leaving the show. That rumour was recently confirmed at Comic-Con and Lincoln will be leaving after episode 6 of season 9.

However, there are also several casting announcements and a trailer for the upcoming season and hints of how the changes will affect the popular show. While Lincoln is leaving, there are some interesting new characters being added to the mix.

Release date for ‘TWD’ season 9

US viewers will be able to see the premiere episode of “The Walking Dead” season 9 on AMC on 7th of October, while UK fans will have the chance to view it one day later on Fox. The Independent reports that the midseason break will be during December and that the show will then return for the second half of the season in February 2019.

Casting changes for ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9

Most characters will be returning for season 9. However, fans are still mourning the departure of Chandler Riggs as Rick’s son, Carl Grimes in season 8. Steven Ogg who played Simon has also left in a spectacular manner, while Lennie James in the role of Morgan Jones has switched over to the spinoff show “Fear The Walking Dead.”

Fans already know that Lincoln will be leaving and he will be making his final stand in "TWD' episode 6 of season 9.

Meanwhile, Norman Reedus as the popular fan favourite Daryl Dixon, is getting a huge pay rise as he takes over as the new male lead character. Lincoln recently spoke at Comic-Con about his departure, saying while he is leaving the show, the continuing story will be “unbelievable.”

We won’t be seeing too much of Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee in the upcoming season as she is also starring in the ABC show “Whiskey Cavalier.” However, it seems likely we will at some stage see the results of her never-ending pregnancy in the upcoming season.

Jon Bernthal will reportedly be making a cameo appearance in the show as Shane Walsh is a Rick flashback. Another sad loss to the show, Michael Cudlitz, who played the character of Abraham and suffered a death at the hands of Negan’s “Lucille,” will be returning to direct one episode.

All other characters, as seen in season 8, will be returning for season 9. However, there will be some new series regulars in the form of Avi Nash as Siddiq and Callan McAuliffe as Aiden, who appeared in season 8 but will now be regular stars. Samantha Morton will star in the second half of season 9 of “The Walking Dead” as Alpha, the villainous leader of The Whisperers.

Another additional will be Nadia Hilker and Eleanor Matsuura, who will be appearing in season 9 as Magna and Yumiko and will be leading a small group of survivors who meet up with Rick’s gang.

Dan Fogler of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be featuring as Dan Fogler to play one of their followers by the name of Luke.

Tiny spoiler alert for season 9

As reported by Digital Spy, Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) opened up a little about the new season at Comic-Con. He said that episode four of season 9 will be “f*****g epic.” He hinted at a fight between him and Rick Grimes for leadership of the group. Reedus ended by saying the episode could have gone in several different directions, but both of them were really proud of it.

Just a reminder that the AMC show will return to US screens on 7 October 2018, while UK fans will be able to follow season 9 of “The Walking Dead” on 8 October 2018 on Fox.